Pot guru (and hero to TMFR) indicted again on cultivation charges
SAN FRANCISCO – A federal grand jury indicted pot guru Ed Rosenthal again on charges that he grew hundreds of marijuana plants for a dispensary, after he successfully appealed previous convictions.
The indictment, unsealed Thursday, charged the self-proclaimed "Guru of Ganja" with 14 felonies, including conspiracy to manufacture marijuana at his Oakland warehouse and distribute it to a San Francisco pot club called the Harm Reduction Center between 2000 and 2002. He also faces four counts of money laundering and five counts of filing false tax returns related to the marijuana operation.
Rosenthal, 61, faced similar pot cultivation charges in 2002, resulting in a conviction that was overturned by a federal appeals court in April because of misconduct by a juror who consulted an attorney on how to decide the case.
Also named in Thursday’s indictment were Kenneth Hayes and Richard Watts, who were charged in 2002 as well. Hayes remains a fugitive, and Watts was too ill to stand trial then, Rosenthal said.
The three were scheduled to be arraigned Monday.
Rosenthal, who has written books on how to grow marijuana and how to avoid getting caught, told the San Francisco Chronicle that the indictment was part of the federal government’s campaign to shut down dispensaries aimed at helping patients who need medical marijuana.
"What they’re trying to show is that they can close down anybody, a legitimate club, a legitimate provider who’s sanctioned by the city," he said, referring to his official status as an agent in Oakland’s medical marijuana program. "They’re trying to stop patients from getting their medicine."